Delegation from Saudi Food and Drug Authority visits Brazilian cattle plants

UAE, July 20, 2015 –A delegation from the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) recently visited Brazil to observe local cattle and poultry farms and slaughter houses. Also in attendance were key members of the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) such as Mr. Tamer Mansour, international relations manager, among others. The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) reported that the delegation aims to evaluate the reopening of the Saudi market to fresh and processed Brazilian beef, as well as the potential expansion of poultry purchases. This move comes after the embargo placed in 2012 on the import of Brazilian beef.

The SFDA delegation was headed by the Director of Food and Drug Imports, who created two teams for the Brazil inspections. Technicians from SFDA visited six beef production plants, two farms and one laboratory. They also went to six poultry production plants, one farm and one laboratory. A team specializing in Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) along with other cattle related diseases visited beef production plants in the states of Mato Grosso and Pará and the National Agriculture and Livestock Laboratory (‘LANAGRO’) in Recife, the capital city of Pernambuco. Another team went to the LANAGRO facility in Campinas, São Paulo dedicated to the diagnosis of poultry diseases. They will also visited poultry meat plants in the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Paraná.

Dr. Michel Alaby, Secretary General and CEO, Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, said: “This trip provides an excellent opportunity to further enhance the dynamic relations between the Brazilian and Arab markets. Through a comprehensive assessment of Brazilian beef slaughter, production and certification facilities, there could be renewed efforts towards the lifting of the beef embargo. It also provides a platform to strengthen ties in the poultry industry, which has continued to thrive for the past several years.”

Beef imports from Brazil ceased in 2012 after reports from the Brazilian Government showed that an animal in the state of Paraná that died in 2010 was a carrier of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), more popularly known as ‘mad cow disease.’ It was concluded that the animal died without developing the disease. At the time, several countries stopped imports of Brazilian beef and beef products, but resumed it soon after.

However, Saudi Arabia remains Brazil’s leading Arab trade partner and was the second leading buyer of Brazilian products after the United Arab Emirates in 2014, importing USD 2.5 billion worth of products. The Kingdom, on the other hand, was the top Arab exporter to Brazil, selling USD 3.2 billion worth of products to the South American nation. Brazil mostly imports oil and oil products from Saudi Arabia while mainly exporting poultry, sugar and cereals. Beef was a major export product to the Kingdom before the ban. Saudi continues to be the main importer of poultry from Brazil. In fact, studies show that in March of this year, they imported 60,500 tons – a 20 per cent increase over the same period in 2014.

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